The medication Finasteride is used to treat hair loss and has become quite popular for that problem. This is one of the most popular hair growth treatments out there and in this guide we will cover it in full, answering all of your questions relating to Finasteride for hair loss, including:
- Is Finasteride Safe?
- Is Finasteride Effective?
- Does it Work for Hair Loss?
- How Do I Use Finasteride?
So, if you want to learn more about this drug, which has been hailed a “Wonder drug” by countless happy patients and many experts in the medical community, then read on. If you want to learn more about the product, including reviews and individual reports from users, then checkout our Finasteride Tag page to see other HGP articles on this subject.
What is Finasteride?
Often sold under the names “Propecia”, Finasteride is a drug that is used for the treatment of enlarged prostates and can also be used for hair loss. It is a drug that causes few side effects and one that has proven to be very effective at treating these two conditions.
This drug works by reducing the hormone DHT in the body. This hormone is what causes the prostate to become enlarged, which in turn creates all kinds of other problems. Initially, the hair growth aspect was a fortunate side effect, but these days it is becoming increasingly prescribed for that purpose.
In fact, there have been rumors that Donald Trump uses this medication. Whether he uses Finasteride for hair loss or for prostate problems is unclear, but it seems to work for him in terms of hair growth (even if that hair does seem to have a mind of its own).
Finasteride for Hair Loss
As mentioned above, Finasteride for hair loss has become a very popular treatment and is now one of the main reasons for prescriptions of this drug. Because it is considered to be quite safe and because it has been FDA approved, it has been used by tens of millions of people since it first hit the market a couple decades ago.
Unlike Minoxidil, which comes in the form of a topical solution and is applied directly to the head, Finasteride is taken as a pill. By stopping the DHT from limiting hair loss and constantly working to keep your hair follicles suppressed, it can help to limit those bald patches and grow hair all over your head and your face.
This medication takes time to work, because hair takes time to grow. The medication needs time to work, because it needs time to limit that DHT portion and kick-start the natural hair growth process. The hair will also need time to grow to a length that is noticeable and can be seen as beneficial.
So when using Finasteride for hair loss, don’t worry if results don’t present themselves straight away. It takes time, maybe even as long as 5 or 6 months. Just know that it does work for the majority of patients and that in time, you should start to see a lot of benefits.
When prescribing Finasteride for hair loss, doctors will typically give you a course of at least a few months and then ask you to report on any side effects that appear, while also keeping track of results.
Previous studies done on Finasteride for hair loss have shown very positive results, much more than many other hair growth treatments and certainly much more than DIY home remedies. One such study, which gave 1,000 patients the drug for a year, found that more than half reported positive hair growth, while only 25% reported no results at all.
Finasteride 5 mg or 1 mg?
Where Finasteride for hair loss is concerned, 1mg tablets tend to be used. This is the dosage that your doctor will likely prescribe. However, if you have an enlarged prostate, then your doctor might prescribe 5mg tablets. These often come in the form of brand names like Propecia or Proscar. Generic versions of Finasteride have been created, but these tend not to be as widely available in the United States, where the manufacturers of those brand names have a firm grip on the market.
Finasteride Side Effects
There is a serious risk of birth defects in women using Finasteride, which is one of the main reasons it is not approved for use in women. In men, Finasteride side effects are few and far between, but you should still watch out for them.
There is a risk of impotence and erectile dysfunctional, which is one of the main Finasteride side effects. There may also be other sexual side effects, including a decrease in libido and problem ejaculating.
The good thing is that Finasteride side effects seem to be fewer than those triggered by “competing” drug minoxidil. The bad news is that they are still very much present and this should not be considered a drug that is completely harmless.
Post Finasteride Syndrome
One of the Finasteride side effects is something known as Post Finasteride Syndrome. This essentially refers to a condition whereby someone who uses the drug feels persistent sexual side effects, such as the ones mentioned above. These may linger even after the drug has been stopped, which is why the term Post Finasteride Syndrome was coined.
If you are young, this may be more of a concern. You don’t want to take anything that might have a negative effect on your libido and might continue to aversely effect it for the rest of your life. If you’re older, you will still have the same concerns, but may be more prepared to take the chances.
Of course, for men with prostate problems, it’s not something they need to worry about and it’s definitely not something they should be worrying about. As for the rest, it’s up to you and your doctor to determine if you need Finasteride for hair loss, or if you should take your chances and try to deal with it in another way.
If you opt for the latter, then you might want to checkout some of our more natural remedies, including our Hair Growth Supplements and our Best Hair Vitamins page. To help you better understand just what your problem might be, checkout our Causes of Hair Loss in Men page.